A lot was made of the Detroit Lions bringing back the fullback by drafting Nick Bellore. But five weeks later, his season may already be over.
Bawden suffered a knee injury during practice Wednesday, and Detroit fears he could have a torn ACL according to NFL Network.
Either way, don’t expect the injury to change Detroit’s plans at the position. Because it has a surprise Plan B in place in Nick Bellore.
Bellore, a former Central Michigan star, has put together a solid six-year NFL career as a linebacker and special teams ace. But he did practice a bit at fullback while with the Jets, then filled in 13 snaps there last year when Detroit elected to forgo a full-time player at the position.
He even scored a touchdown, catching a 1-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford.
And a year later, he’s begun making the transition to fullback full time.
He’s wearing a white practice jersey with the rest of the offense. He’s now listed as a fullback. And he’s spent 100 percent of his time at the position during portions of practice open to the media. He’s even received most of the first-team reps at the position, and has shown a nice set of hands in the passing game too. He split out wide in a formation Wednesday, though team rules prohibit reporters from saying more.
Make no mistake about it. Nick Bellore is now a fullback, and Detroit should be fine at the position even if it does lose its seventh-round pick for the season.
“I was excited for any opportunity to get on the field, learn something new,” Bellore said after minicamp Wednesday. “I’m in for that and I’m here to help any way I can.”
Bellore has received the bulk of his playing time on special teams since joining the Lions last year, though his background as a linebacker gives him a bit of an edge in his move to fullback.
“There’s a lot of carryover,” he said. “You’re kind of in the same attacking positions. The only difference is you’re not moving backwards – or at least I hope not. It’s mostly just kind of mirroring what linebackers do. It’s not the easiest transition. I’m learning, day by day, offensive terminology and all that stuff. So it takes time, but I’ve got great coaches, they’re teaching me and helping me along the way.”